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Steven Holl

Steven Holl

American architect
Steven Holl
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro American architect
Known for Kiasma, Bellevue Arts Museum, Campbell Sports Center
A.K.A. Steven Myron Holl, スティーヴン ホール
Is Architect Professor Educator
From United States of America
Type Academia Engineering
Gender male
Birth 9 December 1947, Bremerton, Kitsap County, Washington, USA
Age 72 years
Star sign SagittariusSagittarius
University of Washington
Architectural Association School of Architecture
Notable Works
Bellevue Arts Museum  
Campbell Sports Center  
Alvar Aalto Medal 1998
Praemium Imperiale 2014
BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award 2008
The details


Steven Holl (born December 9, 1947) is a New York-based American architect and watercolorist. Among his most recognized works are the 2019 REACH expansion of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the 2019 Hunters Point Library in Queen in New York, the 2007 Bloch Building addition to the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, Missouri, and the 2009 Linked Hybrid mixed-use complex in Beijing, China.


Bloch Addition to the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

Family and education

Holl was born on December 9, 1947 and grew up in Bremerton and Manchester, Washington. Holl graduated from the University of Washington and pursued architecture studies in Rome in 1970. In 1976, he attended graduate school at the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London and established his offices in New York City. For ten years after moving to New York, Holl slept in his office on a plywood shelf above the entry, showering at the nearby YMCA. Holl leads his 40-person office with partners Chris McVoy, Noah Yaffe, and Roberto Bannura. Holl has taught at Columbia University since 1981. He is married to the architect Dimitra Tsachrelia and they have one daughter.


Holl's architecture has undergone a shift in emphasis, from his earlier concern with Typology to his more modern style of Phenomenology. He has been inspired and influenced by philosopher Maurice Merleau-Ponty and architect-theorist Juhani Pallasmaa.

Recognition and awards

In 1998 Holl was awarded the prestigious Alvar Aalto Medal. In 2000, Holl was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters. In July 2001, Time named Holl America's Best Architect, for "buildings that satisfy the spirit as well as the eye." Other awards and distinctions include the best architectural design in New York for The Pace Collection showroom in 1986 from the American Institute of Architects, the New York American Institute of Architects Medal of Honor (1997), the French Grande Médaille d’Or (2001), the Smithsonian Institution’s Cooper-Hewitt National Design Award in Architecture (2002), Honorary Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects (2003), the Arnold W. Brunner Prize in Architecture from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the 2008 BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award in the Arts category. In 2007, Steven Holl Architects received the AIA Institute Honor Award and the AIA New York Chapter Architecture Merit Award for Art Building West for the School of Art and Art History (University of Iowa, Iowa City). The Higgins Hall Insertion at Pratt Institute (Brooklyn, New York) and the New Residence at the Swiss Embassy both received the AIA New York Chapter Architecture Honor Award in 2007. In 2010, Herning Museum of Contemporary Art, (Herning, Denmark) was awarded the RIBA International Award. The Horizontal Skyscraper-Vanke Center received the 2011 AIA Institute National Honor Award, as well as the AIA NY Honor Award. In 2011, he was named a Senior Fellow of the Design Futures Council., and Holl was named the 2012 AIA Gold Medal winner. In 2014, Holl was awarded the Praemium Imperiale Prize for Architecture. In 2016, Holl


Holl is a tenured professor at Columbia University, where he has taught since 1981 with Dimitra Tsachrelia. He frequently teaches on the relationship between music and architecture.

'T' Space

In 2010, Holl founded 'T' Space, a multidisciplinary arts organization in Rhinebeck, New York. The core aim of 'T' Space is to create educational fusions of art, architecture, music, and poetry of the 21st century. The organization operates a summer exhibition series and an emerging architects summer residency in pursuit of their mission.

The 'T' Space Synthesis of the Arts Series explores the intersection of art, architecture, and ecology through 2 to 3 exhibitions of work by emerging and established artists and architects. As of its 2019 season, 'T' Space has exhibited architects José Oubrerie, Tatiana Bilbao, and Neil Denari, as well as artists such as Ai Weiwei, Pat Steir, and Brice Marden.

In 2017, 'T' Space began offering a summertime residency program for young architects and artists. Program participants design purpose-built architecture for rural communities, with curriculum emphasizing the ecological outcomes of design. During project development, the residents participate in pin-ups, field trips, and a public lecture series, from architects including Christian Wassmann, Christoph Kumpusch, Tamas Nagy, and Holl himself.

In addition to its arts and educational programming, 'T' Space maintains a publication program and a 30-acre nature reserve with outdoor installations of art and architecture. In 2019, construction was completed on 'T' Space's architectural archive and research library, which will come to house Holl's work as a watercolorist, as well as models, drawings and other architectural materials developed in Holl's 40-plus years as principal of Steven Holl Architects.


Early works

Kiasma, Helsinki, 1993-1998

Holl won first prize in the Amerika-Gedenkbibliothek International Library Design Competition in 1988, an expansion and renovation of the American Memorial Library in Berlin. In February, 1989 Holl's work was exhibited in a solo show at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City. MoMA later purchased twenty-five works by Holl for the museum's permanent collection. In the 1992 competition for a new contemporary arts museum in Helsinki, Finland, Holl's entry, entitled "Chiasma," won first prize out of more than five hundred international entries. The museum opened to the public in 1998, having permanently adopted the name "Kiasma," the Finnish translitteration of "chiasma."

In designing the Chapel of St. Ignatius (built 1994-1997), Jesuit chapel at Seattle University, Holl addressed the campus's need for green space by siting the chapel in the center of a former street and elongating the building plan. New green campus quadrangles were formed to the north, west, and south, and a future quadrangle is planned to the east. The plan of the chapel won a design award in the American Institute of Architects of New York. Holl designed the Chapel around St. Ignatius's vision of the inner spiritual life, "seven bottles of light in a stone box", by creating seven volumes of different light. Each volume represents a different part of Jesuit Catholic worship, and has differently colored glass so that various parts of the building are marked out by colored light. Light sources are tinted both in this way and by indirect reflection from painted surfaces, and each is paired with its complementary color.

Significant works

Bloch Building expansion of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, Missouri
Work Location Completed
Hybrid Building Seaside, Florida 1988
Void Space Housing, Nexus World Fukuoka, Japan 1991
Stretto House Dallas, Texas 1992
Storefront for Art and Architecture New York, New York 1993
Chapel of St. Ignatius at Seattle University Seattle, Washington 1997
Cranbrook Institute of Science Bloomfield Hills, Michigan 1998
Kiasma, Museum of Contemporary Art Helsinki, Finland 1998
Sarphatistraat Offices Amsterdam, Netherlands 2000
Bellevue Arts Museum Bellevue, Washington 2001
Ralph Rapson Hall, College of Architecture and Landscape Architecture, University of Minnesota Minneapolis, Minnesota 2002
Simmons Hall, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Cambridge, Massachusetts 2002
Pratt Institute Higgins Hall Insertion New York, New York 2005
Lake Whitney Water Purification Facility and Park New Haven, Connecticut 2005
Turbulence House Abiquiu, New Mexico 2005
Planar House Paradise Valley, Arizona 2005
University of Iowa School of Art and Art History Iowa City, Iowa 2006
Residence of the Ambassador of Switzerland Washington, DC 2006
Bloch Building expansion of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art Kansas City, Missouri 2007
Complete interior renovation of the NYU Department of Philosophy Building New York, New York 2007
Linked Hybrid Beijing, China 2009
Knut Hamsun Centre (Hamsunsenteret) Nordland, Norway 2009
Herning Museum of Contemporary Art Herning, Denmark 2009
Horizontal Skyscraper - Vanke Center Shenzhen, China 2009
Cite de l'Ocean et du Surf, in collaboration with Solange Fabiao Biarritz, France 2011
Daeyang Gallery and House Seoul, South Korea 2012
Sliced Porosity Block - CapitaLand Raffles City Chengdu Chengdu, China 2012
Sifang Art Museum Nanjing, China 2013
Campbell Sports Center at Columbia University New York, New York 2013
Seona Reid Building at Glasgow School of Art Glasgow, United Kingdom 2014
University of Iowa Visual Arts Building Iowa City, Iowa 2016
Princeton University Lewis Center for the Arts Princeton, New Jersey 2017
Maggie's Centres Barts London, United Kingdom 2017
Institute for Contemporary Art at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) Richmond, Virginia 2018
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston Glassell School of Art Houston, Texas 2018
John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, The REACH addition Washington, DC 2019
Hunters Point Library New York, New York 2019
Institute for Advanced Study Rubenstein Commons Princeton, New Jersey 2020 (in construction)
Franklin & Marshall College Winter Visual Arts Center Lancaster, Pennsylvania 2020 (in construction)
ChinPaoSan Necropolis Taipei, Taiwan 2020 (in construction)
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston Nancy and Rich Kinder Building Houston, Texas 2020 (in construction)

Competition selections

  • 'Sail Hybrid' casino development, Knokke-Heist, Belgium (2005)
  • 'Horizontal Skyscraper', Vanke Center, Shenzhen, China (2006)
  • 'Meander', Taivallahti Residential Area, Helsinki, Finland (2006)
  • LM Project, Copenhagen, Denmark (2008)
  • Hangzhou Music Museum, Hangzhou, China (2009)
  • 'Shan-Shui' masterplan, Hangzhou, China (2010)
  • Virginia Commonwealth University's Institute for Contemporary Art, Richmond, Virginia (2018)
  • Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas (2020) (in construction)

Selected publications

Along with Pallasmaa and Alberto Perez-Gomez, Holl wrote essays for a 1994 special issue of the Japanese architectural journal A+U under the title "Questions of Perception: Phenomenology of Architecture." The publication was reissued as a book in 2006.

  • Pamphlet Architecture 5: Alphabetical City, Princeton Architectural Press, New York, 1980.
  • Pamphlet Architecture 9: Rural and Urban House Types, Princeton Architectural Press, New York, 1983.
  • Anchoring, Princeton Architectural Press, New York, 1989.
  • Steven Holl: Educating our Perception, in “Magic Materials II”, Daidalos, August 1995.
  • Intertwining, Princeton Architectural Press, New York, 1996.
  • Pamphlet Architecture 13: Edge of a City, Princeton Architectural Press, New York, 1996.
  • Pamphlet Architecture 1-10, Princeton Architectural Press, New York, 1998.
  • The Chapel of St. Ignatius, Princeton Architectural Press, New York, 1999.
  • Parallax, Princeton Architectural Press, New York, 2000
  • Steven Holl: Architecture Spoken, Rizzoli, 2007
  • House - Black Swan Theory, Princeton Architectural Press, 2007
  • Urbanisms: Working with Doubt, Princeton Architectural Press, 2009
  • Pamphlet Architecture 11-20, Princeton Architectural Press, New York, 2011.
  • Pamphlet Architecture 31: New Haiti Villages, Princeton Architectural Press, New York, 2011.
  • Steven Holl: Horizontal Skyscraper, William Stout Publishers, 2011
  • Steven Holl: Scale, Lars Mueller Publishers, 2012
  • Steven Holl: Color, Light and Time, with essays by Sanford Kwinter and Jordi Safont-Tria, Lars Mueller Publishers, 2012
  • Urban Hopes: Made in China by Steven Holl, edited by Christoph Kumpusch, Lars Mueller Publishers, 2013
  • Steven Holl, Robert McCarter, Phaidon, New York, 2015
  • Steven Holl Seven Houses, Rizzoli, New York, 2018
  • Compression, Princeton Architectural Press, New York, 2019.
  • Steven Holl: Inspiration and Process in Architecture, Princeton Architectural Press, New York, 2020.
The contents of this page are sourced from Wikipedia article on 05 Aug 2020. The contents are available under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license.
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